Vegetable Gardening in the Shade

New Zealand spinach in partial shade Inspired by Scott Kleinrock’s work at the Huntington Ranch, I’ve been experimenting with growing vegetables in partial shade. Two of our vegetable beds sit under two large deciduous trees. In the winter these beds get full sun, but in the summer they might get as a little as four or five hours of direct sun. Now my shade gardening experiment may not be applicable to northern climates. In...

Continue reading…

Vegetable Gardening Workshops at the Natural History Museum

Master Gardener Florence Nishida will be teaching a four part vegetable gardening class starting in March. Florence is a great teacher and there are a number of discounted spaces for people in zip codes surrounding the Natural History Museum. To sign up for the class go to the museum’s event page or call 213 763-3349. Act soon as it’s sure to sell out....

Continue reading…

Are You Gardening on the 4th?

In the garden today? I just got back from a three day tour of San Francisco Bay Area gardens and will be reporting on that trip soon. In the meantime, I’ve put up over 600 photos from the “Garden Blogger’s Fling” here. Above is a bee visiting a striking plant at Sunset Magazine’s headquarters. Unfortunately, I did not get the name of the plant. Bragging rights go to the person who names it in the comments . . ....

Continue reading…

Saturday Linkages: Gardening, Rocket Heaters and DIY Tips

Forgot your reading glasses? No problem. Tip via Popular Mechanics. A Garden Cannot be Designed http://landscapeofmeaning.blogspot.com/2013/11/a-garden-cannot-be-designed.html … Seeds on seeds on seeds: Why more biodiversity means more food security http://garynabhan.com/i/archives/2347  Lawn Pesticides Outlawed! by Susan Harris http://gardenrant.com/2013/11/lawn-pesticides-out-lawed.html?utm_source=feedly … Chelle Lindahl’s rocket mass heater h...

Continue reading…

Gardening Mistake #12: The Annual That Ate Your Backyard!

Is that a lavender bush cowering under the monster squash leaves? I just thought of another mistake: allowing annuals, whether they be volunteers or valued vegetables, to overrun the garden and smother your perennial plants. This happens to us more than we’d care to admit. It’s really easy to miss. In the spring, you’re so happy to see lush growth erupting all over your yard, that you’re not looking at it with a critical...

Continue reading…

Advances in Gardening: Introducing the Germinator™

I’ve built a kind of seedling Guantanamo which I’ve dubbed the “Germinator™.” Why? Two reasons: 1. Damn squirrels and chickens. Both have gotten into my seedling flats in the past and wreaked havoc. This is why the Germinator™, for most of the year, has a wire mesh top. That wire mesh also takes down the harsh Southern California sun a notch so the flats don’t dry out. 2. During the cooler spring season, I can tra...

Continue reading…

Vegetable Gardening for the Lazy

One of the problems with growing vegetables is all the labor involved–starting seeds, composting, watering and watching out for bugs. It’s worth it, of course, for the tasty rewards, but many busy folks are simply too exhausted after work or corralling the bambinos to pick up a shovel and garden. For those who’d rather sit on the porch with a martini than laboring in the field, and we often include ourselves in that category, p...

Continue reading…

Ordo Ab Chao

There’s a lot of conflicting advice in the vegetable gardening world. You’ve got your square footers, biointensivists, permaculturalists and survival gardeners, just to name a few. The truth is these often conflicting techniques probably all work for someone. I’ve been thinking lately that the next book we write should be a version of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Dis...

Continue reading…

Gardening Tip: Senecent Seedlings

With seedlings, small is good. Mrs. Homegrown here: Senescence is the “change of the biology in an organism as it ages after it reaches maturity” (see Wikipedia). I believe I’m experiencing it right now. What we’re here to warn you about today is buying plants which are old before their time. Seedlings which are senescent. What are senescent seedlings? Basically, these are seedlings whose roots have met the botto...

Continue reading…